Berkman out for Astros' spring opener

KISSIMMEE, FL Manager Brad Mills said Wednesday that he's being cautious by holding Berkman out of Thursday's game. Berkman injured the knee Sunday during team workouts as he was running the bases.

Berkman fielded ground balls and took batting practice during Wednesday's workout, but was told not to run. He said the swelling subsided after he got treatment on Tuesday.

Berkman, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 1999, said it started aching in the offseason. He had an MRI on Monday that revealed the bruise, but the five-time All-Star said the swelling subsided after treatment on Tuesday.

"It's still a little sore, but the good news from the MRI is that whatever the problem is, I'm not going to be able to make it worse," Berkman said Wednesday. "There's no reason not to do as much as I can with it."

Mills said Berkman may return for Friday's spring game against Detroit.

"We're going to try to let it calm down and then, if I can get him in the lineup Friday, we will," Mills said. "But we're going to wait and see. We might take two days, we might take one day. We'll see how he is after today's workout."

Berkman missed 18 games in 2009 with a left calf strain and batted .274, a career low for a full season. The five-time All-Star is entering the final season of a six-year, $85 million contract extension which he signed in 2005.

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